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Devendorf axing a mistake

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Written on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 20:19

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Daniel Eade is a freelance basketball writer.

I disagree with the Melbourne Tigers decision to sack Al Westover, and I'm also against the axing of import Eric Devendorf, especially with the explanation given by CEO Seamus McPeake at today's press conference.

McPeake claimed that Devendorf was signed to be a three-point shooter, and it was Devendorf's inability to attempt three-point field goals that led to him being released.

"Eric was employed at the club as a pure three-point shooter, but didn't shoot the ball," explained McPeake, "As part of our strategy at the start of the year with the board, we discussed with the coaches that we needed a pure three-point shooter.

"That's the reason for the changes."

Devendorf, who averaged 14.6ppg through 18 games, was shooting at 41 per cent from behind the arc, connecting on 25/61 three-pointers.

Averaging 3.4 three-point field goals attempts per game, and one attempt every eight minutes and 54seconds of court time, Devendorf was second on the Tigers roster in three-pointers made and attempted, behind only Darryl Corletto.

With a reputation as a shooter, it was Devendorf's ability to slither his way to the basket and score that impressed onlookers and transformed the American-import into a more rounded offensive player.

Devendorf had a knack of getting to the rim, and became an exceptional finisher with his left hand, that continually improved his stock.

In regards to McPeake's comments that Devendorf didn't shoot the ball, while his three-point field-goal attempts aren't high (ranked 19th in the NBL in total three-point attempts), Devendorf was third in the NBL in field-goal attempts.

Devendorf did score and he did shoot, the stats are the proof, he just didn't score and shoot the way the Tigers' board had envisioned.

It was obvious that Devendorf struggled on occasion with defensive rotations, but the Melbourne Tigers should've known that after Devendorf played four years at Syracuse University (a school renowned for playing a zone defence and very little man-to-man), that he was going to have to learn on the fly.

But McPeake didn't even mention Devendorf's defensive liability.

During games you could see Devendorf constantly asking the coaching staff what to do, and asking if what he was doing was right, the kid was intent on learning the art of man-to-man defence.

I feel the decision to release Devendorf was another bad one from the Tigers, and on the darkest day in the clubs history, Westover is not the only victim that has been flicked out the door.

 

 

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